Splitting before the main flow
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Boulder, Colorado

    Default Splitting before the main flow

    I tried to split a 'doing good' over wintered hive early in the spring using a snellgrove board/ method. We had an early spring, but late cold snowy weather seemed to "do in" the queens on both splits. I bought 2 queens for those splits after the waiting period, on Mother's Day . One of the queens was self released and I never saw her. The queen I released 5 days after introducing has made a very small brood nest the first of which have emerged. I finally combined and adding more brood this weekend to keep things moving in the combined "split", I only ever found one of the two queens.
    I still want to increase and want to replace my 2nd year queen in the original hive. I like the genetics of this queen, all mite counts this year and last have been rediculously low.
    There is good flowering now, hawthorn, catalpa, and lawn clover and I expect my main flow, linden, to start within the next week and last for about three weeks. It's usually a serious flow. I uncapped all the drones on my 28 day drone frame this past weekend, about a dozen cells and didn't see a single mite. The frame is mostly nectar filled.
    Can I just find her, the queen, and put her in a nuc with 2-3 frames of capped mostly brood and attached bees, a nectar frame and pollen patty?
    Would the harvest by the main hive be reduced? Possibly increased due to no brood to care for?
    At this point, good riddance to the early combined split. I have high hopes and will probably feed them after the flow if the queen can lay up a decent pattern by the time the flow ends. But would like some honey from my over wintered hive, they pulled and mostly filled 4 shallow frames on fruit trees this spring. I might even take a queen cell from the main hive and put it into the purchased queen split after pinching the last of my $62 dollars away.
    Any experience splitting before the main flow?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Sacramento, CA, USA

    Default Re: Splitting before the main flow

    Splitting before the main flow is a no no unless you are willing to forgo the honey harvest this season. There is a
    bee saying that you cannot have bees and honey at the same time. Tackling this issue of bees or honey for a few years now, I like to keep all of my honey first on the flow. And then make queens later when the flow winds down 2 weeks before it stop. Then feed the newly establish queen hives to keep them going through our summer dearth. Now I have it both honey and queens in the same season. Proper local timing is all you need.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Clarkfield, Minnesota

    Default Re: Splitting before the main flow

    Yes, in your big hive, if you can find and remove the Q (or Qs...must be sure there aren't 2 and this can be a challenge because the summer population is pretty big) and make a nuc with them and the right time before a major flow then yes, your bees will bring in more nectar because they are not babysitting as much open brood. (in Theory) This is the concept behind Mel D's OTS system. Timing around your flow is critical.


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